TITLE: In Support of Improved Child Nutrition Programs and Services for Native Students
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, Native students and families are nearly twice as likely to experience food insecurity than white communities due to high rates of poverty and increased likelihood of food deserts in Native communities; and
WHEREAS, due to rural locations on tribal lands, many schools that serve American Indian and Alaska Native students face high costs for fresh produce, transportation, and food services; and
WHEREAS, American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students participate in school nutrition programs and services at rates disproportionately higher than those of their peers; and
WHEREAS, research has shown that students learn best when they have access to healthy food options, showing that access to school nutrition services improves student achievement; and
WHEREAS, funding is limited for school nutrition services and programs at schools that serve high Native student populations; and
WHEREAS, though some schools that serve Native students have implemented programs to serve traditional foods within a wider culture-based approach to education that engages students through traditional knowledge and practices, lack of funding and resources has limited many schools from developing culturally relevant food services; and
WHEREAS, many tribal nations produce, grow, or process traditional foods that could be used in schools that serve American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) supports improved access to fully-funded child nutrition services and programs that serve American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI request that the United States Department of Agriculture appoint and fund a committee of Native people to review and provide a report to the Secretary with direct recommendations regarding all child nutrition programs and their access to tribal schools, and the Secretary should take immediate steps to correct and fund all recommendations; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NCAI calls on Congress and the Administration to improve funding and resources for healthy and traditional food options in schools that serve Native students; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2018 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Hyatt Regency in Denver, Colorado October 21-26, 2018, with a quorum present.
Jefferson Keel, President
Juana Majel Dixon, Recording Secretary